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OU Team Advances to Final Four in Prestigious Design Competition



CONTACT: OU Public Affairs, (405) 325-1701

NORMAN – A team of University of Oklahoma architecture and business students has advanced to the final four of a national urban design competition. The four finalist teams will have just over a month to expand and refine their plans before traveling to Seattle to compete for the national title. The winning team will be awarded $50,000.

“To reach the finals of this prestigious national competition is a signal honor for students in our College of Architecture and demonstrates the stature of the program in urban design and city planning,” said OU President David L. Boren.

OU’s team was one of only four from among 153 teams from the United States and Canada to advance to the finals. The primary objectives of the OU team’s project, “Rainier Boulevard,” were to integrate a pedestrian area while balancing traffic needs; utilize a phased place-making strategy to deliver financial performance; create a community center worthy of regional attraction; connect a park network and showcase the mature tree canopy; celebrate cultural diversity; and empower local entrepreneurs.

Members of the team, students from OU’s College of Architecture and Michael F. Price College of Business, include Brandon Coates, an architecture major from Seminole, who served as team leader; Christopher Maupin, a Master of Business Administration from Enid; Jordan Maxwell, an architecture major from Tulsa; architecture major John Postic of Oklahoma City; and Ben Trantham, a Master of Regional and City Planning from Federal Way, Wash. Their faculty advisers were Blair Humphreys, adjunct professor of architecture and planning industry, and Hans Butzer, professor of architecture.

While based on a hypothetical situation, the 2011 Gerald D. Hines Student Urban Design Competition addresses Seattle’s traffic congestion and sprawling network of auto-oriented neighborhoods and infrastructure. The competition is focusing on the Mount Baker Station area because it is a key station that will likely define how Seattle will approach the opportunity to create more sustainable and transit-rich neighborhoods in the coming years. The challenge posed to the students is to devise a plan that not only transforms and brands the neighborhood with an identity, but also serves as a benchmark for future development in the Greater Seattle region.

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